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Thread: Self Injury

  1. #1

    Default Self Injury

    My son Tyler who is now 10 used to run head first into the walls, the couch or wherever he saw fit to throw himself head first into. A worker Tyler had from an outside organization had described my son as "The Energizer Bunny" as he never stopped. He would flick all the lights on in the house and by the time I got the last of the lights turned off he was back at the beginning front door turning them all on. When asked to stop doing it he would impulsively throw himself into the wall or couch or whatever is there. He would also go into full fledge rage attacks out of nowhere even in the middle of having fun he would be engulfed with rage. He would get my 2 step ladder for reaching cupboards etc and stand on the top step and dive head first into the carpet floor (which I may add he no longer does nor do I have that stool after the second time I saw him do it). We had many emergency room visits along with doctor visits. Until we had a positive diagnosis of TS. He feels compelled to punch himself continuously self injure himself if his younger brother who is 5 does something or gets hurt he blames himself and starts hurting himself or tells his brother to hit him hard as to self punish himself. I have explained over and over that he doesn't need to hurt himself because his brother is angry with him. I try to teach what issues belong to them and which don't and with that what he needs to worry about or not. He is grasping this concept somewhat but I am forever giving my boys "friendly reminders" opposed to angry discipline. I find giving them an option for punishment such as ok you can have a time out on the chair for such amount of time or you can have your x-box taken away for a day, something along those lines as not to point out that they are "bad" and discourage them from learning right and wrong. I do it in a way they understand they have no control over tics but they do have control over feelings and to consider how the other person feels. When I explain its a friendly reminder they seem to listen better and understand what I am saying to them (being age appropriate of course). I noticed if people yelled at them or raised their voices and out of sheer frustration (from my husband or mother for example) it scared the boys and made the anxiety issues higher for them. This way they seem to calm down (takes time and patience) when speaking in a quieter, calmer voice that what they have done is not appropriate behaviour and instead of getting so angry to punch their pillow and laugh instead. Sometimes these tatics work but sometimes it doesn't matter what I say they have full fledge rage attacks out of nowhere and sometimes seems impossible to get through that hour of the day. TS is definitely time consuming and a daily routine and battle of coping skills and endless repetitive friendly reminders. Being exhausted by the end of the day I do not sleep very much as Tyler (10) has a sleep disorder and sleep walks right out of the house. I do hope to read all the positive coping methods and in reading I have found solice that others have the same types of tics my sons have. It helps me realize I do not need to run to the doctor but infact right the new tics in the journal and keep track. Thanks to all of you people in our TS world I sincerely appreciate this site more then most will know. It has made a positive dent in my life and my sons and rest of my family (4 other kids, all teen girls who have been so patient and willing to learn more about their brothers). We will do lots of posting and reading from here on in.

    Have a fantastic day everyone!!!

    Colleen, Tyler and Ryan

  2. #2

    Default Re: Self Injury New Topic

    Welcome to the forum Colleen!

    I can understand your distress regarding self-injurious behaviour. My son (12 years old with TS Plus) also engages in SIB.

    His symptoms have included hitting himself, head banging, trichotillomania, nose picking and skin picking untill he bleeds.

    The trich usually only surfaces during times of extreme stress. At present he is missing about half of his eye lashes and a bald patch is beginning at the front of his hair line. He also bites the hairs off his arm and reports that he pulls out his pubic hair as well.

    The skin picking is even more distressing to me as this SIB seems to be always present. We keep a supply of band aids and prescription antibiotic cream on hand to prevent infection.

    The nose picking is also of great concern as he wakes up most mornings with his face and hands covered in blood. He also returns home from school with blood on his t-shirts some days.

    Hitting himself and head banging most often occur if he is in a rage. Thankfully we have not experienced rages in our househild for quite some time now.

    I have done a google search on self-injurious behaviour and Tourette Syndrome and there are many articles on the subject that indicate TS and SIB often go hand in hand. Be careful though when obtaining information on the internet that you are getting information from a reputable source. Mary M. Robertson has some research articles on SIB and I am confident that she would be considered a "reputable source".

    Have you considered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for your son? Your doctor should be able to point you in the right direction if you wish to seek this kind of treatment.

    Patti





  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ontario
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    962

    Default Re: Self Injury New Topic

    Colleen:

    It sounds like your approach does work and it almost mirrors my own from the past when we also lived through this in our household.

    On the times when your techniques do not work you may want to consider taking them to the hospital and or using a crisis line with the local mental health department. Documenting these experiences helps find the answers you need and also protects the child from further hurting themselves.

    You will see other posts about rage attacks, melt downs and self injury. I personally believe it is a coping mechanism to relieve a build up of stresses and frustration that just can't be handled anymore.. hormones play a big role for some too and the social maturity level of the child. This was the case in our own situation and improved once my son learned how to manage them and inter act with others better.

    We also made a change to his medications. In his case one of the med's actually aggravated this behavior. We saw improvement with the change but need CB therapy to get him through the process.

    He still has a safe zone at school in case he feels them coming up so that he can avoid hurting someone else in the process and someone will be there to make sure he does not hurt himself.
    He has gained tolerance of others over the last year and learned to accept peoples reactions or responses. He has also learned his behavior effects everyone and has consequences. That was a very tough one to learn as to do this you must look from within.

    Please make sure you track the episodes and report back to the attending physician. You can also discuss medications and side effects.



    PJK

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Alliston
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Self Injury New Topic

    I'm lucky never had any of those I feel your pain I have on occaison picked scabs or dry skin until it bled

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    ontario
    Age
    45
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Self Injury

    This is so where I am at with my son. He picks a scab at the bottom of his nose constantly and he picks his scabs on his knees so that now he has huge scars. My family Dr has tried to get him to understand how dangerous this can be with infections but obviously a tic doesn't care about that. I am very concerned about it and have a Ped's appt in one week and hope for some help to deal with this. I think I need to look into Cog Behaviour therapy too. I don't know much about it but keep seeing it mentioned. I also live in a small community where there are not many resources. I will probably have to drive an hour to get Cog Behaviour therapy. Anyway... thanks for listening.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Self Injury

    hi isamom

    Try calling a psychologist for CBT. There must be some in your town..at least one? It is usually a psychologist who would do this type of treatment.

    Not everyone is helped by CBT but it definitely is worth looking into. I know how hard it is to watch your child pick at their body. My son is 14 and I will never get used to it. I do not pressure him to stop or this will only make him do it more but I do ask him to go to the bathroom or his room. He needs to know there are some tics/compulsions that he just must do in private. We do struggle though getting him to remember that.

    Have you tried putting cream on? My son does not like the feel of the cream so it does prevent him from picking for at least a little while. Sometimes we even get lucky and a scab will have a chance to heal if I am very good at keeping the cream on.
    Last edited by mom2TSguy; August 8, 2008 at 05:07 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    ontario
    Age
    45
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Self Injury

    Actually we do have to go out of town for a psychologist. We don't even have a pediatrition in town. We have one that comes to town once a month but that is it. I will talk to my Ped's dr on the 15th and see what he has to say. As for the cream I have tried it with some good results. The cream keeps the scab from getting so itchy and it helps a bit. How long has your son been picking his scabs? I was hoping it would go away like some of his other tic but this one seems to have lasted the longest. Anyway thanks for listening

  8. #8

    Default Re: Self Injury

    We first started noticing my son picking his skin in grade 1 (he is now in grade nine) and it progressed from there to trichotillomania in grade 2. Any anomally on his body at all he will pick at. He has done this for as long as I can remember.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Delaware
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    27

    Default Re: Self Injury

    I have self-injurous tics that are in no way related to anger, guilt, or fear. The same premonitory urge that makes me yelp like a dog makes me punch and slap my chest, face and head. I will do this whether I am in a literature debate with a friend, or leading kindergarteners at Vacation Bible School.

    I have dealt with deliberate self-injury related to my depression, but this is completely unrelated to my Tourette's.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
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    5,945

    Default Re: Self Injury

    but this is completely unrelated to my Tourette's
    Perhaps not....please see:Self injurious behaviour in Tourette syndrome: correlates with impulsivity and impulse control

    PDF copy attached

    Also:

    What are the symptoms (of Tourette Syndrome)?

    Tics are classified as either simple or complex. Simple motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements that involve a limited number of muscle groups. Some of the more common simple tics include eye blinking and other eye movements, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. Simple vocalizations might include repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds. Complex tics are distinct, coordinated patterns of movements involving several muscle groups. Complex motor tics might include facial grimacing combined with a head twist and a shoulder shrug. Other complex motor tics may actually appear purposeful, including sniffing or touching objects, hopping, jumping, bending, or twisting. Simple vocal tics may include throat-clearing, sniffing/snorting, grunting, or barking. More complex vocal tics include words or phrases. Perhaps the most dramatic and disabling tics include motor movements that result in self-harm such as punching oneself in the face or vocal tics including coprolalia (uttering socially inappropriate words such as swearing) or echolalia (repeating the words or phrases of others). However, coprolalia is only present in a small number (10 to 15 percent) of individuals with TS. Some tics are preceded by an urge or sensation in the affected muscle group, commonly called a premonitory urge. Some with TS will describe a need to complete a tic in a certain way or a certain number of times in order to relieve the urge or decrease the sensation.

    Tics are often worse with excitement or anxiety and better during calm, focused activities. Certain physical experiences can trigger or worsen tics, for example tight collars may trigger neck tics, or hearing another person sniff or throat-clear may trigger similar sounds. Tics do not go away during sleep but are often significantly diminished.Source: NIH

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